What is Common Cold in babies?
Common cold is a viral infection that affects your baby’s nose and throat. It is also known as upper respiratory infection.
Common cold is extremely common among babies and toddlers and most babies suffer from cold atleast 4-5 times during the first couple of years. Common cold is a contagious disease and toddlers are even more prone to colds once they start playing with and interacting with other kids.
Symptoms of Common Cold
- Runny nose
- Congestion in nose
- Itchiness in throat
- Fever up to 101 degrees
- Lack of energy and fussiness
Cause of Common Cold in babies
There are hundreds of viruses that known to cause colds. Rhinovirus and coronavirus are most common and responsible for most colds. Often more than one type of virus is also present.
How does Common Cold spread?
Common cold is contagious and spreads by air, touch and contaminated surfaces.
Air – Often and infected person may cough or sneeze in front of a healthy person and directly spread the virus.
Touch – Baby may also catch cold from an older kid who may have touched his/her nose or mouth and touch baby’s hand who may then touch her own mouth, nose or eyes.
Contaminated surfaces – Baby may also catch the virus by touching a surface like toys which they share with others.
How long does Common Cold last?
Common cold in babies usually lasts three to ten days, but sometimes cold can stretch for longer duration.
Treatment of Common Cold
There is no known cure for common cold, but symptoms can be treated. Antibiotics do not work against viruses. Common medication like paracetamol can be given to reduce fever. Your doctor may also recommend some syrups for cough and runny nose. Do not give over the counter medicines to baby without consulting a doctor.
What can you do relieve symptoms of Common Cold in babies?
You can ease symptoms of common cold by ensuring baby gets lots of rest, fluids.
- Ensure baby gets lots of fluids. If your baby is breastfeeding, feed baby at frequent intervals as baby may have trouble taking in too much in one go.
Read more on how to know if baby is getting enough breastmilk or formula.
- If baby’s nose is congested, use saline drops to loosen the mucous and use nasal aspirator for suctioning it out to help relieve the congestion in nose.
- Use a humidifier to make the air moist which will help baby breathe easily.
- Elevate baby’s head while sleeping to reduce coughing and ease breathing.
- Dress baby in loose-fitting, comfortable sleepwear.
Prevention of Common Cold
Common cold in babies may be prevented by using simple precautions :
- Wash hands frequently especially before eating.
- Use separate handkerchief if one has a cold.
- Educate older kids to stay away from baby if they have cold.
- Continue breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is known to pass immunity from mother to baby which helps fight many infections.
More on home remedies to improve baby’s immunity to fight cold.
When to call the doctor?
You must consult a doctor if :
- Baby is younger than three months old and has high fever.
- Baby’s fever is higher than 101 degrees.
- Mucous becomes yellow to green or if there are traces of blood in mucous.
- If cough continues for more than 5 days and you can hear wheezing.
- If baby has trouble in breathing.
- If baby is in visible discomfort and is very fussy and irritable.